5 dark romance books to read if you’re new to the subgenre

Twisted Lies by Ana Huang. Image courtesy Bloom Books
Twisted Lies by Ana Huang. Image courtesy Bloom Books /

Getting into a genre or subgenre can be hard for a reader. In particular, dark romance can be a bit of a touchy subgenre for a lot of people.

Even trying to find a definition of dark romance isn’t easy. If you look at what Book Riot says in a recommendation post, dark romance is a scale. You can either have a romance with some dark elements or a romance with taboo elements including age gap, murder, torture, and stalking among many other topics.

All in all, it’s a good idea to know what you can and can’t handle before picking up a dark romance book. Sometimes, you might not even know what you’re able to handle or not handle until you pick up a book. Of course, you can either check out the Goodreads review or look up any content warnings before beginning the book.

Regardless if you’re looking to dip your toe into dark romance, then Culturess is here to be your guide. While I will say that these are more light in terms of the dark romance world, always be sure to tread carefully when it comes to reading dark romance.

These 5 dark romance books are perfect for a chilly winter evening.

Starting things off is actually a series and that’s Ana Huang’s Twisted series. This series consists of four books: Twisted Love, Twisted Games, Twisted Hate, and Twisted Lies. These books are interconnected because each book follows a different member of a friend group and each book is varying levels of darkness. Twisted Love is best friend’s little sister, sociopath hero, and grumpy sunshine with some parental trauma on both sides while Twisted Games is a princess-bodyguard romance with a grumpy hero and lots of sneaking around.

Next is Twisted Hate which is a hate-to-love story featuring friends-with-benefits and a sister’s best friend. Lastly is Twisted Lies which is a fake-dating romance with a morally grey hero who is obsessed with the heroine. This is a super popular series, but I love it and it’s a good starter series.

Another lighter dark romance is Hooked by Emily McIntire. This is a reimagining of Peter Pan in which Wendy is Peter’s daughter and Hook is hell-bent on revenge against Peter. Hook and Wendy end up getting involved and the story goes from there. This one has a lot of dark elements including murder, assault, and breath play. Either way, this book is incredibly fast-paced so you won’t want to pick it down. I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me finished copies of Hooked and the Twisted series.

If you’ve been following my #TBRTrending posts, then this one won’t come as any surprise and that’s All Things Burn by Jodie Slaughter. This is a romance between a hitman and the woman who hires him to deal with her stalker ex-boyfriend. This book is action-packed and a good dark romance read if you want something fast-paced but also don’t mind a little bit of murder on the page.

Keeping with another author I adore, I had to feature something by Katee Robert and that’s Court of the Vampire Queen. While this one is more in the paranormal scope, there are some dark themes. The book begins with Mina being gifted to Malachi, a powerful vampire which starts off rocky but things quickly turn steamy as Mina gets involved with Malachi’s two friends: Raylan and Wolf. Overall, this one is super compelling and with a new bind-up from Sourcebooks, you won’t want to pick it down.

Last but not least is the Vegas Nights series by Christina C Jones. These are three interconnecting novellas, each following a different couple. The first book is a second-chance story between a married couple with some kidnapping while book 2 is a friends-to-lovers story and the final is a steamy motorcycle club romance. If you’re either a newbie to Christina C Jones or dark romance, you can’t go wrong with these.

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Overall, dark romance isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a place to start, these books are a good starting point. Obviously, be sure to look up content warnings if you’re sensitive to something or even stop reading if you can’t handle it. Either way, hopefully, you’re able to find some dark romance books you enjoy from this list.